A Californian federal judge ruled yesterday, 3 February, that Live Nation’s Covid-19 business interruption legal case against its insurer Factory Mutual is far from over, with Covid-19 considered the kind of “physical damage” covered by its policy.
Last year, the concert giant took legal action against Factory Mutual after it refused to cover the promoters’ vast losses resulting from the Covid-19 lockdowns, which it says led to around 15 million tickets for shows being cancelled or postponed.
The insurance company attempted to close the case by claiming that the cancellation of events due to Covid-19 was not a result of the “physical loss or damage” Live Nation was covered for in its 2019 insurance policy.
Los Angeles District Judge John A. Konstadt ruled that the insurance company could be liable for Live Nation’s huge financial losses experienced as a result of Covid-19 because it was not possible to determine, as a matter of law, that Covid-19 did not cause “physical loss or damage”.
The judge wrote, “The complaint sufficiently alleges that infectious respiratory droplets, which transmit Covid-19, are physical objects that may alter the property on which they land and remain.”
Live Nation said it had suffered “massive losses”, and that by the end of September 2020 it had cancelled more than 5,000 shows and postponed a further 6,000.
Separately, the UK Government’s £800m Live Events Reinsurance Scheme has been branded “totally inadequate” by Labour shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell MP.
Speaking to Exhibition News Powell said, “The Government’s Live Events Reinsurance scheme is a flop, failing to provide the safeguards the live events and exhibitions sector needs to operate alongside Covid-19. The scheme as designed is totally inadequate, only covering full national lockdowns, not staff or artists’ illness, or changes in restrictions such as social distancing which have a significant impact on viability. That’s why we’re calling for the Government to urgently review the scheme and make it fit for purpose.”
Insurers involved in the scheme have proven reluctant to provide details of the number of event operators to have taken up a policy, suggesting that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) would provide details.
When approached, the DCMS said it could not disclose any information about take-up of the scheme because the information was “commercially sensitive”.